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Gerald Perman: True Gentleman and Gentle Man

Dr. Gerald Perman (pictured), founder of the Vocal Arts Society, passed away on Saturday, victim of a fast-moving pancreatic cancer. Washington music lovers owe Gerry a significant debt for the labor of love that he put into directing what is now known as Vocal Arts D.C. Just in the years that Ionarts has existed, not to mention going back to the founding of Vocal Arts in 1990, a small audience of regulars heard excellent recitals by singers like Christine Brewer, Christian Gerhaher, Anna Caterina Antonacci, Christine Schäfer, Anne Schwanewilms, Christopher Maltman, Isabel Leonard, Magdalena Kožená, Felicity Lott, Joyce DiDonato, Lawrence Brownlee, Iestyn Davies, Luca Pisaroni, Eric Owens, Karine Deshayes, and Karen Cargill.

Gerry loved talking about singers, and he would often ask me what singers I most wanted to hear on his series. He always enjoyed hearing from me about singers he did not know, and the feeling was mutual, although he delivered on his end with actual recitals by those artists. He was one of the "early accepters" of Ionarts among concert presenters, and he personally invited me to almost all of the Vocal Arts recitals. In fact, Gerry represented an overall ideal as far as his interaction with critics: he never complained about any of my reviews over the years, even the doozies. When he agreed with my assessment, negative or otherwise, he let me know that. He was an honest man, and he appreciated honesty above all when it came to the concerts he offered, even when it involved his own disappointment. I will miss his smiling face at concerts, those of Vocal Arts and others, for when singers were involved, Gerry was always there.


Bookguybaltmd said...

I and many others join you in grieving the passing of this wonderful man.

Gerry was one of the few truly great men of my aquaintance. He was not just a wonderful and nurturing contributor to the arts scene in DC, nurturing artists and audiences alike, he was a genuinely warm, generous, and wonderful person.

In my own case, he was a major inspiration and mentor for (and occasional attendee at) my own little art song series in my home here in Baltimore. His patience and continued interest and support of my very small efforts at a vocal arts series in my home was always warmly generous, cogent, honest, and thoughtful.

I know that I am not the only art song host who benefited from his interest and kindness. We will all miss him very much.

(By the way - I can't attach photos here, but would be delighted to share one or two if appropriate).

Charles T. Downey said...

Thanks for adding your thoughts. I would be happy if you shared your photos, too!

Ashley perman said...

my beloved grandfather was truly the kindest, modest soul ever. thank you to everyone and the VAS. forever cherishing the life of gerald perman <3